This article appears on the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants’ blog, Musings.
My muscles are pleasantly achy (no, that is not an oxymoron) after completing another CrossFit workout. I’m not a fitness nut and this is not a blog about fitness. I have enjoyed regular physical activity my entire life: first, growing up in a small town that had more bicycles than people, then, in adulthood as a long-distance runner and avid hiker. When the going got tough, I would strike out for the bike trail, running path or for a few days of what our family calls “Sierra therapy.” What all of these endeavors had in common, aside from contributing to my overall well-being, is that they could be done solo. Team sports just weren’t my cup of tea.
Enter CrossFit, which a PA colleague introduced me to about two years ago. Let me first explain that CrossFit is many things, but at its core are two principles: optimal fitness and community. Optimal fitness, in this case, is defined as increased work capacity across time and in many domains. The spontaneous community that is created when people work out together is the key to its effectiveness. So, back to my PA colleague—she said, “Give it a try, you’ll like it.” I was skeptical—that whole group activity thing—working out with a bunch of other people? Not my style … Besides, my workout routines had always been effective, hadn’t they? But, like all good healthcare providers, this PA did not try to convince me.
Sneaking in the topic with motivational interviewing strategies over lunch, she would connect her training at the gym and her improved performance on a recent long-distance bike ride. We talked about my own fitness goals. Bit by bit, my cognitive dissonance increased—what could I be doing differently? My skepticism gave way to curiosity, and here I am two years later, happily engaging in an intense communal activity and pondering the similarities between the CrossFit community of which I have become a part and the elements of a highly functional interprofessional team.